When cowboys come to mind, they may be real-life people turned legends — Billy the Kid, or Wyatt Earp, or Annie Oakley, let’s say.  Or they may be fictional — Hopalong Cassidy, or the Marlboro Man, or one of many roles featuring John Wayne.

All of these cowboys are white.  And that overlooks history: there were also black cowboys, and they played an important role in the American West.

Musician Dom Flemons has been thinking a lot about those cowboys, and his forthcoming album features their songs. Flemons joins us from the studios of WBEZ Radio in Chicago.

On Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 2 p.m., he’ll be at the Winchester Cultural Center in Clark County, NV. And next week he performs at the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko.

Flemons is also the host of the American Songster Radio Podcast, which is a production of North Carolina Public Radio/WUNC.

Read more here.


Laurent Dubois, author of The Banjo: America’s African Instrument, and Dom Flemons, a Grammy-winning musician who is known as “the American Songster,” will come together for a public discussion Jan. 26.

“The Banjo: A Conversation with Laurent Dubois and Dom Flemons” will begin at 4:10 p.m. in Vanderbilt University’s Alumni Hall, Room 206.

Dubois, the Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke University, is a specialist on the history and culture of the Atlantic world, with a focus on the Caribbean. His other books include Haiti: The Aftershocks of History and Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France.

Read more here.


thumbnail_domflemons-2It all started at an unheralded event called the Black Banjo Gathering, held in 2005 at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. That four-day conclave of young African American musicians explored the African and African American roots of American vernacular styles–a knife’s edge if there ever was one, for the banjo was the icon of the racist minstrel shows of the nineteenth century. The gathering spawned the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops trio, who went out to learn from one of the few living black old-time country fiddlers, Joe Thompson, and built on his repertoire in fascinating and often challenging ways. Dom Flemons, who comes to the Ark on January 16, was that band’s virtuoso multi-instrumentalist, and his growing solo career has produced traditional music of an unusual sort.

Read more here.

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The “American Songster” Dom Flemons performs his song “In The Nighttime”.

Captured live during the “Pewter Sessions” at the Summer Hoot by Beehive Productions. These sessions are filmed in front of a live audience in the tiny 100-plus year-old Pewter Shop on the grounds of the Ashokan Center near Woodstock, NY.

The HOOT is a grass-roots music festival held twice per year near Woodstock, NY and produced by duo Mike + Ruthy (Mike Merenda & Ruthy Ungar Merenda)

See more here.